HEROES: Weezer

HEROES: Weezer

With two new albums, the masters of soft-core angst are catchy as ever.

With two new albums, the masters of soft-core angst are catchy as ever.

Photography: Martyn Goodacre

Styling: Ilana Kaplan

Heroes featuring Weezer first appears in V119, our Music Issue featuring Lizzo. V119 is available for sale!

Since January, Weezer has released two self-titled albums (alternatively known as Teal Album and Black Album), echoing a kind of unity that might well have drained after 27 years and a dozen-plus records. But few have withstood as much mythologizing and analysis as Weezer. “Remember the Wonder Twins [from DC Comics]?” frontman Rivers Cuomo asks. “They only have superpowers when together; apart they’re normal humans. That’s like [us].” Though “normal” is not a word often applied to Cuomo. After leading Weezer to icon status in 1994 with hit-dense debut The Blue Album (“The Sweater Song;” “Buddy Holly;” “Say It Ain’t So”), Cuomo enrolled at Harvard for a year, returning with the divisive Pinkerton, the original lineup’s final work, in ’96.

The current lineup—OG members Cuomo and Pat Wilson plus Brian Bell and Scott Shriner—has been together since 2002, but hadn’t had a hit since 2005’s “Beverly Hills”—until their cover of “Africa” by soft-rock ’80s band Toto unexpectedly went No. 1 on iTunes in 2018. “It’s given us a little bit more visibility,” says Wilson.

That success inspired Cuomo, at work on Black Album, to tack on Teal, a collection of ’80s covers released at the top of 2019. Cuomo intends to follow the path of audience expansion. “We might do ‘Teal en Español,’” he says. Two months later, Black dropped and Weezer embarked on tour.

Meanwhile, Cuomo was develop- ing set-list-generating software to avoid doubling up on keys or tempos—a gig befitting his coder-rocker image. “It keeps it spicy and varied,” he says. Cuomo, though his voice is as boyish and angst-ridden as ever, is pragmatic about the future. “It’d be nice to live for- ever, and keep Weezer going forever,” he says. “But probably in 10 years or so we’ll take our last bow.” Say it ain’t so.

Credits: Photography: Martyn Goodacre

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